DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am the president of a small social club. At a party, a member was approached by two individuals expressing interest in joining, and they gave him their contact information.
I was delighted when our club member informed me about these two interested individuals. I was also happy to hear that they might show up at our monthly meeting, at my home. (This is common practice in the club, without necessarily asking for the host’s permission. We only ask that the host be informed in advance, as I was.)
After thanking our club member for helping to find prospective members, I asked for their contact information. He responded by saying that he did not feel comfortable sharing their contact information without permission.
As the president of the club and the host of the upcoming meeting, was I out of line to ask for this, since these individuals had given their contact information to another club member (not me)? All I wanted to do was to personally greet them and formally invite them to my home for the meeting.
GENTLE READER: The sponsoring member seems to Miss Manners to be too easily made uncomfortable, as it is difficult to assail the logic that you can neither invite, nor admit, someone you cannot reach.
Rather than convince them of this, explain that you would never forgive yourself for the rudeness of not issuing a personal invitation to a guest and prospective member, and that therefore they should get their guest’s permission to share the information. If this fails, it is time for a rule change, which, as president, should be easy for you to accomplish. The new rule is that hosts are to be informed of the names and contact information of meeting attendees.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When people get together and make a toast, everyone wants to clink glasses. Is that necessary? Is it OK to just raise our glasses instead of physically touching everyone’s drink?
I would be very grateful if your reply could convince my friends that feelings of goodwill would still be genuine if we didn’t stretch across a table to make sure every single glass connected with all the others.
GENTLE READER: It is the feelings, not the threat to the glassware, that is important, Miss Manners agrees.
If you hold your glass in front of you, look a distant neighbor in the eye, and raise your glass, that may be enough to prevent a stampede.
If anyone wants to discuss the matter further, ask how the host or hostess is going to feel if you switch to a more expensive custom — that of breaking the glasses after the toast.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a recently retired public school teacher who has gone back into education as a substitute teacher. I need to know how to properly sign email correspondence. Do I sign “Hope Fairfield, Teacher, Retired”? Or “Hope Fairfield, Substitute Teacher, Retired Teacher”?
GENTLE READER: Substitute teachers have enough trouble asserting their legitimacy in classrooms. Why exacerbate the issue? You are Hope Fairfield, Teacher. Unless, of course, you want to preface it with “part-time” in order not to invite more employment. If that is the case, Miss Manners certainly will not spoil it for you.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.